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Kashmir Shaivism: From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu

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Kashmir Shaivism: From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu Empty Kashmir Shaivism: From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu

Post by Guest Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:32 pm

Words below in italics are from the article whose link i give below. words in normal font in brown are mine. essentially i am commenting and expanding on the article.

This is a Shaiva sect found in North India, especially Kashmir. It is also known as the Kashmiri school. However, it should be made clear that the term Kashmir Shaivism does not refer only to the Trika sect. It is composed of two radically opposed schools, the Trika and Krama with nondualistic traditions and the Shaiva Siddhanta which is dualistic. And in Kashmir itself, the dominant Shaiva doctrine is Shaiva Siddhanta, while the principal Shaiva cult is the worship of Svacandra Bhairava, which is a form of Shaivism between the two extremes of nonduality and duality (see Kashmir Shaivism, Shaiva Siddhanta, and Svacandra Bhairavas).

In Sankhya philosophy there is the concept of purusha and prakriti. Prakriti meaning primeval matter, and purusha meaning consciousness. There are three schools of Sankhya as described in the Mahabharata--in one greater emphasis is placed on purusha, in another greater emphasis is placed on prakriti, and in the third equal emphasis is placed on both.

Let us consider the school of Sankhya in which greater emphasis is placed on prakriti. Prakriti is also referred to as pradhana, meaning primary. In this school, purusha occupies a superfluous or anomalous position in that it is considered to be part of prakriti. In other words, purusha has emerged from prakriti. That is, we are dealing with a materialistic philosophy with seemingly very little difference from the Charvaka philosophy. This school is articulated in the Mahabharata by Panchashikha who is said to be a direct disciple of Asuri who is said to be a direct disciple of Kapila who is regarded as the founder of Sankhya.

Returning to Kashmir Shaivism: Trika Shaivism is the school of Shaivism in which emphasis is placed on Shiva, while Krama Shaivism is the school of philosophy where greater emphasis is placed on Shakti (female principle). In Kashmir itself we are informed that Shaiva Sidhanta holds sway in which equal importance is given to Shiva and Shakti.

The analogy of the three schools of Kashmir Shaivism with the three schools of Sankhya are striking in my opinion.

The passage also talks of a Shaiva cult in which a form of Shaivism between the two extremes of nonduality and duality is believed in: i do not know what is meant by this.

From about 900 CE came the third phase of Trika Shaivism, characterised by the writings of Abhinavagupta, the great Kashmirian Shaiva theologian. Abhinavagupta lived from about 975 to 1025 CE. His father Vimala and his mother Narasimhagupta conceived him in Kaula ritual. He was descended from Atrigupta, a brahman scholar brought to Kashmir by King Lalitaditya (c. 724 to 760). His father was a learned Shaiva and trained his son in grammar, logic, and hermeneutics. His mother died when he was a child and he considered this the start of his spiritual progress. Becoming filled with devotion to Shiva, he gave up thoughts of marriage and led the life of a student in the homes of Shaiva scholars.

Abhinavagupta was a profound influence on Shaivism in Kashmir. He became famous all over India for his theory on the nature of aesthetic experience which he saw as linked between worldly awareness and the inner bliss of enlightened consciousness. Aesthetic study was a traditional Shaiva subject in Kashmir because of the importance of dance and music in liturgies and the aestheticism of the Kaula mystical cults. Abhinavagupta's disciple Ksemaraja popularised his works in simpler writings.

After Ksemaraja, Abhinavagupta's lineage spread to Tamil Nadu, where Sanskrit works by Tamils on Trika and associated forms of Shaivism were produced from the eleventh to the nineteenth century, thus maintaining the Kashmir tradition. The main centre for this was the great Shaiva temple of Cidambaram. The Trika tradition in Tamil Nadu influenced the cult of Shri Vidya. The Kashmirian tradition of the Shri Vidya reached Tamil Nadu in the twelfth century and was adopted by the Trika. The Trika became through this more a mixture of metaphysics and soteriological theory rather than a system of Tantric worship.

The fact that the Kashmiri thinker Abhinavagupta had tamil students (including Madhuraja) has already been discussed in earlier posts.

What we know is that the form of Shaivism which went to Tamil Nadu, for the most part at least, is the Trika Shaivism. This is the form of Shaivism in which greater emphasis is placed on Shiva (and not Shakti). This is also the form of Shaivism familiar in Chidambaram in which Shiva is given greater importance. This is what the passage says.

Now my question:

we know that in the Meenakshi temple at Madurai, the mother goddess is given greater importance. Could it be that in Madurai the Krama Shaivism holds sway?


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Kashmir Shaivism: From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu Empty Re: Kashmir Shaivism: From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu

Post by Guest Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:04 pm

Saiva Siddhaanta is fundamentally a school of philosophy inspired by
the teachings of the Saivite Naayanmaar saints of the Tamil land.
Saiva Siddhaantis are thus fundamentally a spiritually driven group
who are committed to a specific philosophy and a way of life with
moksha/nirvaana as their main goal - they are drawn from multiple

On the question of Saiva Siddhaanta's relation with Kashmir Saivism -
the latter is chronologically earlier in terms of technical
philosophy. And quite like KS, SS too went through a period teaching
dualism but later philosophers, especially the Sanskritist
systematicians, probably influenced by KS and Advaita, promoted a non-
dual version.

Also to be noted is that historically the Sivaachaarya brahmins who
are the traditional preservers of the Saiva Siddhaanta philosophy are
considered to be Kashmiri brahmins who were brought down to the Tamil
land by Rajendra Chola.


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